Getting Started with Sequined fabric

Once upon a fabric shopping trip to downtown Los Angeles to meet up with other Cashmerette loving sewists I picked up this amazing olive green gold sequin fabric. It was slinky and an earthy iridescence I couldn’t resist. Have you ever picked up a fabric and loved it so much only to second guess yourself when you got it home. Most fabric purchases are non refundable. This should give me pause in what I purchase, but not this time. I immediately thought bolero or cocoon cardigan.


Cutting sequins

Truth time, I had never sewn with sequined fabric before. It was so beautiful I couldn’t resist, I’m fearless at the register, once it’s on the cutting table the flop sweat starts.

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It’s not a UFO, I was just waiting on the buttons.

Have you ever “failed” at a sewing project? Sometimes your project comes together all at once. You find a pattern then the perfect fabric (not your muslin but final garment fabric) then notions are easily procured. Sometimes it’s user error, sometimes its poor pattern fitting, this time it was a notions fail.

I’m still not sure how to “Summer” style this top but it’s going to be great in the winter

Continue reading “It’s not a UFO, I was just waiting on the buttons.”

The Viewridge and Cleo outfit

a cautionary tale

We all make mistakes, in sewing it can be hard to handle. Perhaps it’s because you have to destroy what you’ve just created. Here is how this outfit started out great but took some perseverance to get finished.

CleoskirtViewridgetopBlogThe event: a birthday party in a suite at the racetrack, with highs in the 80’s or 90’s I can’t remember (I ended up sick with a fever and didn’t get to wear it, whawha). Our going out usually consists of jeans and a nice shirt so this required a bit of a dressier outfit but also something that wouldn’t be too hot in this So Cal heat. I immediately knew what I wanted to make.

I had tested both patterns the View Ridge by Straight Stitch Designs and Cleo Skirt by Made by Rae, for these designers and shopped for fabrics with these specific patterns in mind. I knew what I wanted to use on them before I even paid for them so it seemed like a win before I even began. Oh how pride goes before a fall.

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Reading to kids stories about sewing

I still read bedtime stories to my kids, they share a bedroom so sometimes the books we read start with board books and end with a few pages of Harry Potter. I love books and the library, while I no longer horde books like I horde fabrics, books give me a comfort and soothing similar to sewing. I wanted to share some of my love of sewing with my children at bedtime, I found an extra bonus because some of the books gave us some history or dealt with overcoming fears. Continue reading “Reading to kids stories about sewing”

The Cindy Swim Suit by BurdaStyle


I made this swim suit long before I started blogging my sewing adventures so I have no photographic evidence, I’m pretty sure it was while I was still operating RitualBath, so blogging was natural bath and beauty related. However this swimsuit showed up in my inbox this morning and I wanted to write it a quick love note.

The Cindy from BurdaStyle, when that website was my only outlet for pdf on demand sewing patterns. Oh how far we have come my indies! First off I did have to grade this a bit as I was a size 16-18 at the time. I made it in a gorgeous burgundy swim lycra from JoAnn’s because I didn’t know any better at the time. Before I go into the problem areas and how I think they can be fixed let me just say, I felt SMOKIN HOT in this swim suit.

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Fiber arts: Ice Dye technique

Disclaimer: The substrate I am dyeing on was a gift from all other materials were purchased from the listed suppliers.

Too many months ago my friend Mallory gifted me some Cone Mills Stretch denim in natural to “do something fun” with. She suggested pants or a denim jacket and I knew jeans were where I would be heading. I live in jeans and tee shirts. Maybe it’s my up bringing, Grandaddy used to wear “dungarees” and denim work jackets while he taught us how to grow orange trees in the FL heat. Athletic wear on my body everyday seems like a broken promise, and I have enough mom guilt.


Back to ice dyeing I took my sweet time figuring out the how and what, gathered many pinterest pins and finally settled on something that could read more floral and less Electric Daisy Carnival. I have shopped with Dharma Trading Co. before, picked up my indigo and some dye fabrics there and I love their website and customer service. I went with four colors: a turquoise, sage green, amber yellow, and orange. When dyeing with ice having a variety of light and dark colors as well as some contrasting colors (colors across from each other on a color wheel) can really enhance the outcome.

Shopping list:

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Shopping with Cashmerette and SoCal Sewists

Curvy So Cal Sewists and Cashmerette invade The Fabric Store LA and Mood LA!

On Cashmerette Pattern’s Facebook group, Jenny Rushmore the creatrix behind Cashmerette put the word out that she was planning an escape of the frozen tundra in Boston and heading to sunny Los Angeles on a buying and defrosting trip. She would graciously share her work vacation time with any So Cal sewing ladies wanting to join in a retail shopping excursion to The Fabric Store LA and Mood LA.

My lovelies from The Fabric Store LA

I don’t know about anyone else but sewing keeps me away from the outside world, and most times it’s a good meditative practice, so I don’t mind. However my immediate family doesn’t understand the excitement of a well threaded double needle or the reason behind the “WOOHOO” I yell out when the finished stash busting shirt fits well.

A table with an array of fabrics in a pink color way and in the background the Merino wools!

So the call to join for an afternoon, with others who know the joys and trials of sewing for a bodacious body, I was in.

Oh you know just some silks in a rainbow display 

If you have never been to Los Angeles, it’s big, like takes 30 – 45 min to get anywhere big. I live in what could be called the suburbs or “the Valley” if you are old enough to remember those movies from the 80’s. Really it could be a city of it’s own hovering at about 1.8 million people (Los Angeles counts that 1.8 in the over all 3.8 million people in the county and city). We came together from surrounding counties some driving an hour to meet up.

It was a great time, swapping stories of pattern makes, alterations and just ohhing and ahhing over all the fun things we were running our hands over.

I highly recommend finding an in-person group to sew or shop with, I know this won’t be my last.

My Wardrobe the Phinney Ridge Cardigan

I was given this pattern at a tester for free all opinions are my own.

Phinney Ridge Cardigan by Straight Stitch Design is a classic cuff and waist banded boyfriend or letterman cardigan with many variation possibilities. I agreed to test the size 24 with the hopes that this would be a nice layering piece for my wardrobe. Kimberly of Straight Stitch Designs has created some great garment patterns with classic flair. Ruffle hem? Yes, Viewridge Tank, Zipper back detail Yup the Ravenna Top, Box pleats? Sure.

All of her patterns seem to have some design options which I love, I used to buy patterns from the “big four” based on how many garment pieces were in an envelop. A strategy I have now found to be not the best way to buy my patterns.

My Phinney Ridge Cardigan, EasyT and Costco cords, because sometimes you buy cloths with your bulk groceries.

A few weeks ago I was able to meet up with some SoCal sewists, Jenny Rushmore of Cashmerette and Carie McGowan for a shopping trip to The Fabric Store-LA and Mood. The afternoon did not disappoint. While at The Fabric Store I purchased some glittery lovelies and some Merino wool jersey in basic black and jewel tone fuchsia. I can’t get enough of fuchsia aparently. The black wool jersey was perfect for my SoCal weather and I had plenty for the cardigan pattern.

My black merino wool version of the Straight Stitch Designs, Phinney Ridge Cardigan sewing pattern.

The Phinney Ridge Cardigan is a great staple and good experienced beginner pattern that will give you quite a confidence boost. You can add buttons, snaps or not at all, there is also the option to lengthen, shorten or add elbow patches.


The pattern size range is from a size 0 -24 (not vanity sized, based on the measurements of your body, and nested for easy grading between sizes) and takes under two yards varying in how wide your fabric is. The instructions are clear and easy to execute, you could try the “ham/hot” cuff method here for the wrist cuffs but either directions work well.


My version in black merino wool jersey is without buttons or snaps as I didn’t have any that went with the light weight jersey, but I did interface it for future button add ons. I sewed it exactly as is without any lengthening or shortening. I could have stood for a shortening in the sleeves and body as I am a bit on the shorter side and the cuffs and band hit about two inches past where they should. With that minor alteration aside I still wear the heck out of it, I mean comfortable wool in classic black, how very Audrey Hepburn of me. I guess you could say, I really like mine, I have worn out cardigans like this and haven’t found RTW replacements. Now I don’t need to, I just need to go back and pick up more wool jersey. The Phinney Ridge Cardigan pattern is on sale till Friday February 24th so there is no reason not to grab one.


My wardrobe the EasyT

I received this online class free as a pattern tester prior to launch, but my opinions are my own.

Before this class I had only drafted clothing with the old fold and trace method. Where you lay your favorite tee or lounge pants on top of your fabric and trace around (including seam allowance) and cross your fingers. For knit pants or lounge wear it turned out ok, in most cases, but was hit or miss. I now know the joy of drafting to my measurements and it has opened up a whole new confidence in wardrobe.

EasyT in a sheer woven poly in one of my favorite colors

If I have a bad day and need a confidence boost, I can pull out this pattern and whip up a new tee or tee dress in about the same amount of time it would take me to get to the mall and park. I can stay in my pajamas at home, and at the end I have something that fits!!

When this tee drafting class launched there was some fun talk about how it’s designed to be an easy to wear garment for your every day life. Like taking out the garbage,emptying the dishwasher, or setting your instapot for today’s dinner.

Everyday life EasyT dress, I could live in this garment.

The class is sold by and The Self Sewn Wardrobe’s Mallory Donahue. She and her mother Zede host a podcast Sew Here and Mallory hosts a Facebook group called the Self Sewn Wardrobe with a podcast of her live broadcasts from the group. Both have an enormous volume of garment sewing know how, and the content is very informative and entertaining.

My EasyT starts with an online class that is broken up section by section, so you can stop and start as your life dictates. Mallory covers how to measure yourself, and fill in the worksheet that helps you add up your individual drafting numbers. I confess math is not my strong suit and I had to watch this segment two times because I needed to check my work, I tend to transpose numbers. After entering my numbers and following along with the video to calculate my pattern drafting points I was all set to chart some lines. The class also includes some bonus material, and new to me techniques.

The first EasyT in tissue weight jersey knit

I used Pellon tracing paper as that is what I had on hand, I like Swedish tracing paper because it’s a bit less slippery under my pen but almost any wide paper will do. I was able to watch and re-watch the initial drafting video multiple times since each chapter or segment is it’s own video. This was super helpful because I was interrupted more than once by “mom life” events. I used an acid green poly something I bought by the pound at The Loft and it shifted all the time. I was still able to finish it in less than an hour.

The EasyT class covers how to draft your own tee in woven with a few inches of ease so the shirt comes on and off easily and drapes nicely (depending on the type of woven you use, and Mallory covers material choice in one of the videos). I learned enough from the videos on the ease and drafting that by the end of the class I was able to make two more EasyT’s in tissue weight jersey and sweater knit, and then I thought “what about a tee dress” and BAM! an hour later I have my favorite house dress and it’s boring grey twin. I still have plans to draft one for my pre-pre-teen as she is getting harder to shop for and with this pattern I would be able to sew her a shirt for every day of the week on a good weekend.

Give it a try! I hear there are more video’s coming and the pod casts are full of useful info, and fun mother daughter banter.